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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 12, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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you're guaranteed to love. off course. tiger woods' stunning decision to take a break from golf. will the big brands take a break from him? digging out. after a monster storm, and now a new threat. more extreme weather on the way. to the streets. an urgent call to save the planet. and road to riches. the bridge, the toll, and the mystery man who gets to keep it the bridge, the toll, and the mystery man who gets to keep it all. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. after acknowledging explicitly
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for the first time that he has been unfaithful to his wife, tiger woods' big-name sponsored are tonight openly weighing the risks and rewards of continuing to back him. woods' decision announced last evening to step away from the game indefinitely leaves some big and potentially costly question marks for those who have invested in his brand. and tonight, some from gillette to chevron are reevaluating tire relationships with woods. we start with the future of brand tiger. ♪ >> reporter: for many of the world's most recognizable brands, the planet's most famous athlete was the obvious pitchman. tiger woods' endorsement deals with worth an estimated $100 million a year, but none of his primetime commercials have aired since november 29th. as the number of his alleged affairs has grown to more than a dozen -- >> he introduced himself and said he saw me from across the
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way. >> reporter: corporate giants are wavering. just today, gillette issued a statement saying "in the midst of a difficult and unfortunate situation, we will support tiger's desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs." at&t and chevron say they're evaluating their relationship with woods. >> each one of them has to weigh out the short-term, you know, hit that they're taking to their brand and their association with tiger woods versus the long-term benefit. >> reporter: long-term, woods' future is an open question. in a stunning statement on his website friday, the intensely private woods admitted his infidelity and wrote "after much soul searching, i have decided to take a break from professional golf." . it's a request with enormous financial implications. so profound is woods' impact on golf. when he first hit the scene, total prize money for 1996 was
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$65 million. this year it's $275 million. woods' impact on tv ratings has a name, the tiger effect. when he's playing, viewership goes way up. in recent years by as much as 65%. now his scandal is boosting television ratings in a very different way. >> good evening. tiger woods -- >> reporter: the story making newscasts and selling newspapers around the world. >> after two weeks, it's pretty clear that there's absolutely no comparable in sports and maybe any story that relates to this. >> reporter: sky tv in new zealant is promoting an interview shot last month where tiger talks about his wife, elin, and their two young children. >> always been like that? >> always. >> be watching. >> reporter: and the ironies continue. there are unconfirmed reports that woods' $22 million yacht is being prepped for a getaway. a tarp now covers the name on the 155-foot vessel, christened
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privacy." nbc news, los angeles. darren rovel reports on the business side of sports for cnbc. he joins us here in new york for all of this. darren, nike and others say they are supporting tiger, but for others who are still evaluating, does this decision to step away from the game give them some breathing room to make a call? >> well, lester y think the formality of the actual statement means he's going to have more of a break potentially than we thought. that means for the sponsors that they're not going to advertise with him if he is not on the course. so i feel there is. but at the same time, if one company believes that he is never going to be the greatest golfer in the world again or they can never use him again, they're going to start to talk about not staying with him and how long they can stick with him, but really how do they begin to sever ties and make sure it's not out there like all these other stories are. >> at the end of the day he's an
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athlete. is there a risk that if a company sticks with him that people won't buy their product? >> i think there's less of a risk there with the blue-chip brands. but at the same time, it's more about image than it is the financials here. i think gillette would have more of a problem with a gillette recall on one of their razors in terms of losing some market share to schick than this with tiger wood. >> how might the timing of his return affect his relationship with advertisers? >> lester, if you believe that this is genuine, if you believe that he has to do what he has to do to get back with his family before he has to get back on the course, if this is genuine, he's not going to worry about the fact that the tournament is in mid-february or the fact that the at&t tournament in the summer is, you know, coming up. he's going to worry about being the best golfer he can at the time that he can. that's what his sponsors should
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care about. if tiger woods comes back and he cannot concentrate, not only, you know, mentally and physically, they're going to be in trouble, too, because he's not the greatest golfer in the world. >> all right. darren, thank you for being with us tonight. now to copenhagen. the streets were filled with tens of thousands of protesters from already the world, demanding action to stop global warming. their demonstrations were mostly peaceful, but hundreds our arrested. our report tonight from chief environmental affairs want anne thompson in copenhagen. >> reporter: an extraordinary sight in front of denmark's parliament building. 35,000 protesters filling the square. stepping off on a slow march with an urgent plea. save the planet. the four-mile trek to the site of the climate talks was part street theater, part political theater. these women mocked rich countries.
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>> the marchers have a simple message for the delegates. stop talking and start acting. >> reporter: this man pushed his 10-month-old son, worried about his future and the future of those elsewhere in the world. >> i definitely want them to -- to make an agreement that's fair also in the third-world countries. >> reporter: that's what the marchers call climate justice. they want rich countries to help poor countries already dealing with the affects of disappearing natural resources by creating $100 billion fund. but at the negotiating table, rich countries are only talking about a quick-start $10 billion fund. the world joined in on this climate day of action. australia, indonesia, and india all marched. outside beijing, chinese students dressed a christmas tree in life preservers and put it in a dry river bed. in copenhagen, it wasn't all peaceful.
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some protesters scuffled with police. the march ended with a candlelight vigil outside the talk site. these matchers are from canada. >> that's really important for our governments to provide funding for green energies. >> reporter: looking for solutions to preserve the planet and stop climate change. anne thompson, nbc news, coachen hagan. now to that early winter punch that brought heavy rain and snow to 2/3 of the country this week. tonight, the west coast is in the grips of a second storm. >> reporter: in western new york, these kids set aside their shovels to clear the snow a handful at a time. others preferred more traditional methods. >> it's a good couple-hour job. got to shovel the sidewalks and the driveway. >> reporter: they're clearing three feet of snow that fell over two frigid days, shutting down. >> narrator: state highways and stranding motorists.
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for mike scott, it's just another winter. >> we're used to this. don't bother us. >> reporter: in the west, the second big storm in a week is moving in from the pacific ocean. turning southern california into a soggy mess and triggering minor mud slides. >> it's not as blockbuster as the last one. a lot of heavy snow in the ski resorts. >> reporter: four feet of snow is forecast from the sierras to the rockies. the rest of the country is bracing for another blast of icy air from canada. >> this next arctic blast will make it to the east coast by wednesday. it won't be quite as bad as the last one, but it will make it feel chilly. >> affthis, a cup of coffee. >> reporter: with more bitter cold on the way, even snowmen are getting bundled up. nbc news, new york. the senate was back at work again on a saturday and moved
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one step closer to a vote in a trillion-dollar-plus spending package that includes tens of billions of dollars for a variety of federal agencies and the district of columbia along with a pay raise for federal workers. which brings us to a quick pram note. the economy and jobs are the topic on this week's "meet the press" with david gregory tomorrow morning here on nbc. now to a woman to watch on one of the most important issues for many americans, health care. the senior senator from maine, republican olympia snowe, has been front and center, and she's a key in the president's efforts going forward. people who know her will say her own difficult life experiences have helped shape her thinking about health care. here's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: the breakfast crowd at becky's diner knows -- >> olympia snowe. nice to see you. >> reporter: her vote is one of the most sought-after in washington. popular, some say beloved back
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home, she has been popping in like this to visit small businesses for decades. 31 years suving in the house and now senate. a moderate republican. her days as a high school waitress started it all. >> i always draw back on that experience, how i had to talk to people and ask them their orders and so on and have a give and take. my boss said you had to be friendly to the customer, so i had to open up. >> reporter: she had much more to overcome than shyness. snowe lost both parents to illness when she was only 9. at 26, husband peter was killed in a car accident. trage tragedy, she says, taught her emathy. >> i learned that other people have tough experiences. even though i may have suffered, other people suffered even worse. so i learned to understand people's fears and anxieties. >> been out of work for months. >> reporter: today much of that fear and anxiety is about health care. >> what are you going to do on the government-sponsored option?
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>> reporter: snowe wields lov s leverage because she's cooperated with democrats, gets special access to the president, and the white house wants to win her over. but snowe opposes the plan to offer health insurance run by the government. >> now, i don't have the support of the public option. >> i wish you would change your mind. >> reporter: her style says a lot about where she comes from. here in maine, people expect their elected officials to show independence. >> the far right and the far left don't do well here politically. it's the center of the political spectrum that holds. >> reporter: chris is an expert on maine politics. >> maine people want their senators to be for the nation first, the state second, and the party third. >> you've got to do what you think is right because ultimately you have to explain it. you have to explain it to your constituents, to yourself, to the country. >> reporter: her independent streak is a risk with republicans in washington, but it's a trait often rewarded back home. kelly o'donnell, nbc news, maine.
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when "nightly news" continues this saturday, nearly a year after a deadly plane crash, the fight to make sure there's enough experience in the cockpit. and later, the next time someone says he's got a bridge to sell you if it's this bridge, it may turn out to be a pretty good deal. or a chevy. can we speed this up? not only do they come with the best deals of the year, they come with the best coverage in america. you snooze you lose. hey! i'll take it! let the chevy red tag event begin. now during the chevy red tag event, get 0 percent apr for 72 months on most '09 models. see red and save green. now at your local chevy dealer. ♪ [ laughter ] ♪ ♪ too much talking 'bout the next time, the next time ♪ [ panting ] ♪
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because we believe in the strength of american businesses. ge capital understands what small businesses need to grow and create jobs. today, over 300,000 businesses rely on ge capital for the critical financing they need to help get our economy back on track. the american renewal is happening. right now. it has now been ten months to the day since the crash of a plane in buffalo new york, and now many of the families of the people who died are pushing for
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changes to ensure that the mistakes that led to the crash are never repeated. here's tom costello. >> reporter: while the ntsb has yet to complete its investigation into the crash of flight 3407, several contributing factors have been identified. >> flight 3407 is weighing on our minds. >> reporter: now the faa chief is under congressional pressure to do something about it. >> is that just an aberration in that one cockpit in that one airpo airplane or is that a harbinger of things to come? >> i think it was a bad collection of events, but i think we have the wherewithal to withdraw each of those. >> reporter: family and friends of the 50 people who died in the buffalo crash wore red and photos of the victims to apply
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maximum pressure on all sides to act. lauren's parents were there. >> without change and the changes that we're advocating, the flying public is definitely at risk. >> reporter: the families of flight 3407 want the faa to ramp up the number of cockpit hours a pilot must have to fly commercially. while a captain is required to have 1,500 hours in the cockpit and a pilot's certificate, a first officer doesn't need that certificate, just 250 hours of cockpit time. hardly enough, says the father of coleman, who died in the crash. >> when you think about 1,500 hours, that's not a lot of hours in terms of preparation. a master plumber has considerably more hours. >> reporter: but while congress is talking about raising the minimum hours required, the faa chief, himself a veteran pilot, says cockpit time doesn't equal ability. and today's advanced simulators can give pilots more valuable
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exposure to potential emergencies than simply racking up take-offs and landings. >> whether they have 1,50 hours, 2,500 hours doesn't give me the comfort that we've achieved that training. >> reporter: the faa is now involved in a top-to-bottom review of pilot training and requirements, crew rest time and cockpit hours. in some cases the most exhaustive review in 50 years. with the new rules expected in early spring. tom costello, nbc news, washington. the washington state coffee shop where four police officers were shot to death late last month reopened today at 8:14 this morning, the exact time of the ambush. hundreds of people including fellow law enforcement officers turned out for the event. all of its shops will display haplaque in memorial of the murdered officers. when we come back, would you let a bunch of 21-year-olds manage your money? you just might after you see how one group of undergraduates is beating the street.
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record is better than many big money managers. tonight, a story of some smart money. >> i think apple has done well for us. >> reporter: when these students get together to study the stock market -- >> 1% respectively. >> reporter: it's not good grades they're after. it's big profits. on a campus far from wall street, a select group of 15 college seniors working at the school of business are charged with managing nearly $11 million of the university's endowment. >> many people in their lifetime will never have an opportunity to manage $10.6 million. >> reporter: and it turns out they're better than the pros. >> the student fund is doing much better than our outside managers over the last ten-year period of time. >> reporter: not only have the students beaten the school's professional money managers, they've also beaten their s&p 500 benchmark for the past ten years. >> at first it's -- you feel a little nervous, but as it goes on, you feel very proud that
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what you're doing is helping your university and helping the future of it. >> reporter: the recession has taken its toll on some of the largest university endowments in the country with many top-tier money managers struggling to cut losses. but trusties are increasing the total amount of the investment fund by more than 25% this year. >> they have about $31 billion. >> reporter: all the decisions and the success or failure of the fund is in the students' complete control. >> i do have the power of veto, but i've never had to implement that. >> reporter: a handful of other colleges have student-run endowments, but the university of dayton's is one of the oldest and one of the only undergraduate programs in the country. students beating the pros, investing in the future of their school. courtney reagan, cnbc, baiten, ohio. up next here tonight, an old stone bridge takes a toll.
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for one mystery man, that is very good news. in the strength of american businesses. ge capital understands what small businesses need to grow and create jobs. today, over 300,000 businesses rely on ge capital for the critical financing they need to help get our economy back on track. the american renewal is happening. right now. with cialis for daily use... a clinically proven, low-dose tablet for erectile dysfunction you take every day so you can be ready anytime the moment is right.
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it was easy to find the right plan for the prescriptions i need. your cvs pharmacist can help, too. come in today, or go to cvs.com before december 31st to find the best plan for you -- at cvs/pharmacy. you know the old saying, if you believe that, i've got a bridge to sell you. actually, in england there really are bridges for sale. recently one very old span over a sleepy stretch of the river tems fetched a high price for a good reason. here's mike taibbi. >> reporter: this bridge is a lovely arched crossing about the length of a football field or a
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narrow turn in the thames river. lovely, and at rush hour, a traffic nightmare. how long a wait? >> half an hour. >> it goes back about a mile sometimes. >> reporter: it's the tolls that cause the delays. tiny cash payments now, what were sometimes bread and beer in 1867, when the revenue from the bridge was granted to a local earl and his hairs forever. that includes the mystery buyer who paid about $1.6 million for the bridge at an auction last week. the buyer getting a stone toll house and four acres of riverfront property. all the cash this growing river of traffic can produce. on an average day, 10,000 vehicles cross at about eight cents apiece. it adds up. in a year's time, over $300,000,
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tax-free. though some drivers accept it with a smile -- >> it a nice old bridge. >> reporter: for the most part, the locals are not amused. >> i think it's grossly unfair. >> absolutely. >> reporter: this local artist doesn't think it's worth it either. she loves the bridge, but she's taken to driving a motorcycle because two-wheeled vehicles don't pay tolls or have to wait. >> most of us only get one life, and we don't want to waste it in completely unnecessary lines of traffic. >> reporter: when two trucks try to cross this narrow bridge, it can be a long wait. a very long wait. and some driver s just give up. but tomlinson won't give up her campaign to abolish the tolls, even though it would take another act of parliament to do so. >> acts of parliament are being repealed all the time. how hard can it be? we scrapped fox hunting and witch burning. let's move on it. >> reporter: well, it will be a slow move. the bridge's new owner is in it as a business, and business is booming. mike taibbi, nbc news, england.
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that's "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. i'll see you tomorrow morning on "today," then right back here tomorrow evening. we leave you with a huge crowd enjoying the christmas tree on we leave you with a huge crowd enjoying the christmas tree on rockefeller plaza. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com ..when your nose is raw and sore. plain tissue can make it burn even more. but mom knows there's puffs plus... ...with the magic of three. soothing lotion with a touch of shea butter, aloe and e. plain tissue can irritate the sore nose issue. puffs plus with lotion is a more soothing tissue. a nose in need deserves puffs plus indeed.

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